7 Questions Answered About Tetralogy of Fallot Surgery

Tetralogy of Fallot Surgery - Sriramakrishnahospital

Here’s an overview of what tetralogy of fallot means:

Rarely seen, TOF results from four congenital cardiac abnormalities (congenital).

These heart abnormalities impair the heart’s structure and lead to oxygen-poor blood pumped throughout the body. Lack of oxygen in the blood causes a bluish cast to the skin in TOF pediatrics.

Diagnosis of tetralogy of Fallot typically occurs within the first few months of life. Sometimes tetralogy of Fallot is not diagnosed until maturity because the abnormalities and symptoms are so mild.

Babies born with tetralogy of Fallot require emergency surgery. Tetralogy of Fallot is a congenital disability that requires lifelong medical monitoring and may result in activity limitations. This article provides details of everything you need to know about this condition.

The significant signs that might indicate tetralogy of fallot condition:

The severity of the blockage in blood flow causes a wide range of symptoms in patients with tetralogy of Fallot. Tetralogy of fallot symptoms could include, but are not limited to:

  • Bluishness of the skin due to decreased blood oxygen levels (cyanosis)
  • Constant shortness of breath and increased breathing rate, particularly when eating or physical activity
  • Poor weight gain
  • Tiring easily during play or exercise
  • Irritability
  • Prolonged crying
  • Heart murmur
  • Fainting
  • Nail beds in the fingers and toes that are abnormally rounded

The four defects that contribute to the tetralogy of fallot condition:

Narrowing of the lung valve:

The blood supply to the lungs is impaired when the valve between the right ventricle (the lower right chamber of the heart) and the pulmonary artery (the primary blood vessel leading to the lungs) becomes narrowed. The constriction may also affect the muscle just beneath the pulmonary valve. Occasionally, the pulmonary valve fails to develop normally (pulmonary atresia).

A hole between the bottom heart chambers:

A hole in the septum separates the ventricles and the heart’s lower chambers (left and right ventricles). Due to the opening, blood from the right ventricle, which has low oxygen levels, mixes with blood from the left ventricle, which has higher oxygen levels. This results in less oxygenated blood reaching the tissues and organs of the body. The heart’s strength may decline over time due to the defect.

Shifting of the body’s main artery:

In a healthy person, the aorta emerges from the left ventricle. An abnormal arrangement of the aorta characterizes tetralogy of Fallot. It is located to the right, above the cardiac ventricle’s hole (ventricular septal defect). This means that both the right and the left ventricles contribute blood that is either low in oxygen or high in carbon dioxide to the aorta.

Thickening of the right lower heart chamber:

Overuse of the heart’s pumping motion causes the right ventricle’s muscular wall to thicken. In the long run, this could lead to cardiac stiffening, weakness, and eventual failure.

Here are the seven major questions answered about the tetralogy of fallot surgery:

Each of us has different questions, and it is important to get them answered to understand the condition better.

What are the treatment options recommended for tetralogy of fallot?

Babies born with tetralogy of fallot must need heart (cardiovascular) surgery to repair the condition. Your baby’s growth and development may be stunted if you don’t get the help it needs. Based on your or your child’s condition, your doctor will decide when surgery is necessary and what kind of TOF treatment will be performed.

While waiting for surgery, some children may need medication to keep blood pumping to their lungs.

Intracardiac repair:

Several repairs are made during this open-heart surgery, typically performed within the first year of life. Adults who were diagnosed with tetralogy of Fallot as children but did not have surgery to correct the condition as children may be candidates for this procedure.

The surgeon will:

  • Repair the hole between the heart’s ventricles by sewing a patch over the ventricular septal defect (ventricles).
  • The pulmonary valve can be widened or replaced to improve lung blood flow.

Temporary shunt surgery:

To increase blood flow to the lungs, intracardiac repair is often preceded by a temporary (palliative) surgery in infants. If your baby was born prematurely or had underdeveloped pulmonary arteries, this tetralogy of fallot surgery may be recommended.

As part of this operation, the surgeon creates a shunt (bypass) to reroute blood flow around the blocked pulmonary artery.

Is the TOF patient required to undergo open heart surgery?

Open-heart surgery is required to correct tetralogy of Fallot, either immediately after delivery or sometime during infancy. Surgery for tetralogy of Fallot aims to correct the four abnormalities that cause the condition so that the heart can pump blood regularly. A child’s health and quality of life can be considerably enhanced if the flaws are corrected.

Can a baby, after undergoing TOF surgery, lead a normal life?

Children who have had a surgical correction for tetralogy of Fallot have excellent long-term health outcomes. Most children’s activity levels, appetites, and heights will normalize with time.

How long does it require for the baby to recover after the surgery?

It will help if you plan on keeping your kid at home for another several weeks. It may take 6-8 weeks to recuperate after major surgery. Please consult your child’s doctor about when they can return to regular activities like attending school or daycare or participating in sports. 

After surgery, discomfort is typical. The tetralogy of fallot surgery success rate is about  97%, and most children who undergo it recover quickly.

Is tetralogy of fallot considered a serious condition?

Babies born with tetralogy of Fallot are regarded to have a serious congenital cardiac abnormality and may require surgery or other operations soon after birth.

Is tetralogy of fallot curable?

If a kid is diagnosed with tetralogy of Fallot, surgery to correct the heart defects is typically recommended before the child’s first birthday.

Is tetralogy of fallot rare?

A rare congenital cardiac abnormality called tetralogy of Fallot affects more boys than females. One percent or so of infants are born with some heart problem. The diagnosis of tetralogy of Fallot occurs in about 10% of these newborns.

Important Takeaway:

Even though tetralogy of Fallot can be surgically corrected, your kid will require lifelong monitoring due to the physical complications that arise from the condition. If caring for a kid with tetralogy of Fallot is causing you to worry, or if you struggle to accept your surgical scars, therapy may be helpful. 

Seeking help from the best open heart surgery hospital in Coimbatore can help your child recover early from the condition.

Tetralogy of Fallot Surgery-Sriramakrishnahospital

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